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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Shipshape: 1917

Shipshape: 1917

New York, 1917. "Washday on landship Recruit." Sailors doing their laundry on the Navy's pretend battleship moored at Union Square, used for recruiting during World War I. In back is the Automatic Vaudeville penny arcade, two of whose backers -- Marcus Loew and Adolph Zukor -- went on to found Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer and Paramount Pictures after a few years in the nickelodeon business. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

 

Night Ship

Those ground lights around the USS Recruit must have made for a pretty spectacular sight in the evenings. At that angle, the ground would disappear in shadows, leaving the ship to appear to float on waves of light. Very impressive design.

Union Square Again

This is Union Square Park facing south toward 14th Street (also known as Union Square South), a major crosstown (east-west) thoroughfare. The Automatic Vaudeville Theatre, if that was the name of it, was once the site of the Hearn's Department Store. The present tenant at that approximate location is a very busy Whole Foods Market at No. 4 Union Square South. No. 40 houses a Filene's Basement store -- which I believe is, ironically, on the second floor.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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